Troy Davis executed in Georgia amid innocence protests


Witnesses at his death said he was defiant in proclaiming his innocence to the end

Death row inmate Troy Davis has been executed in the US state of Georgia for the fatal shooting of policeman Mark MacPhail in 1989.

Davis' death was delayed for hours while the US Supreme Court considered an eleventh-hour appeal for clemency.

The 42-year-old's case was heavily disputed after most of the witnesses recanted or changed their testimony.

Inside the jail in Jackson, Georgia, Davis protested his innocence until the end as supporters protested outside.

There was a heavy police presence as hundreds held a vigil awaiting news from the US Supreme Court.

"I am innocent," Davis said moments before he was executed. "I did not have a gun."

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, but always maintained he was innocent.

The US Supreme Court judges took more than four hours to issue their rejection of the final appeal, an unusually long time for such a ruling.

"The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice [Clarence] Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied," it read.

Davis continued to protest his innocence in the death chamber.

Troy Davis Davis's execution date had already been moved several times

"For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.

"All I can ask... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight."

Davis was pronounced dead at 23:08 (03:08 GMT Thursday), 15 minutes after the lethal injection began.

Ballistic 'flawed'

MacPhail was shot dead in July 1989 as he tried to help a homeless man who was being attacked in a Burger King car park.

Prosecutors said Davis was beating the man with a gun after demanding a beer from him.

No gun was found and no DNA evidence conclusively linked Davis to the murder.

On Wednesday morning, Davis' lawyers appealed to the county court responsible for Georgia's death row, but that was also rejected.

The legal team had argued that ballistic testing from the case was flawed.

The pardons board also dismissed an appeal to reconsider their decision on Monday to deny Davis clemency.

Prosecutors said they had no doubts as to his guilt.

Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail Mark MacPhail was shot dead in 1989 as he tried to defend a homeless man

"I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened," Anneliese MacPhail, the mother of the murdered policeman, told the Associated Press news agency after Davis was killed.

"All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace."

Davis counted Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter among his supporters, as well as US conservative figures like former member of the House of Representatives Bob Barr and former FBI director William Sessions.

Outside the prison, hundreds of people gathered chanting: "They say, death row; we say, hell no".

Around 10 counter-demonstrators were also present, voicing support for the death penalty and for the family of MacPhail.

There was a heavy police presence, including large numbers of riot police, but no disturbances were reported.

International protests

Davis' execution date had already been changed three times.

Protests had taken on an international dimension since Monday's decision to deny clemency by the Georgia pardons board.

The Council of Europe had also called for Davis' sentence to be commuted.

Amnesty International and other groups organised protests at the US embassy in Paris, where 150 people gathered in Place de la Concorde, holding signs bearing Davis' image.

"We strongly deplore that the numerous appeals for clemency were not heeded," the French foreign ministry said after the execution.

In Washington DC dozens gathered outside the White House, in the hope that President Barack Obama might intervene at the last-minute.

But White House press secretary Jay Carney said it would not be appropriate for the president to interfere in specific cases of state prosecution, such as this one.

Reports suggested around a dozen people were arrested for refusing to co-operate with police.

Meanwhile in the US state of Texas another death row inmate, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed on Wednesday evening - in a very different case.

In 1998, white supremacist gang member Brewer, 44, dragged a black man chained to the back of a pick-up truck along a road until he died.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 434.

    And I was stupid enough to think that under Obama USA may join the civilised nations of the world... Are they still ducking witches over there?

  • rate this

    Comment number 433.

    Davis' advocates produced affidavits; a few handwritten and apparently voluntarily and spontaneous, except for concluding with "further the affiant sayeth not." Who wrote that stuff? The lawyers, perhaps?

    These affidavits were not offered in a motion for new trial until eight days before the first scheduled execution in 2008 seventeen years after Davis' conviction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 432.

    BARBARIC - unworthy of any civilized nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    Every American should be hanging their head in shame at the murder of Troy Davis.
    RIP Troy

  • rate this

    Comment number 430.

    32 Minutes ago
    I used to support the death penalty as a form of punishment - but having read this report I have changed my mind. Neither of the two men mentioned deserved the death penalty.

    Based on the evidence Troy Davis could well be innocent.

    Erm, so what evidence exactly have you actually read apart from this "report" you mention , please expand/explain!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 429.

    i'm ashamed to be a member of the human race when i see comments in support of a convicted killer

    bet you lefty 'luvvies' might have a different attitude if your daughter was raped/murdered - then you would be screaming for the death penalty?

    like burglary - if you break into my house i will kill you - no 'ifs/buts' - FACT

    now where's my 9mm?

  • rate this

    Comment number 428.

    Each time this happens (and it has happened with sickening regularity) America becomes a little more ashamed of itself, and we non-Americans wonder how such a country, proud of its civility, can endure such a cruel, immoral process. Remember that if it ever returned (and it is one of the glories of the EU that it is banned), we would be reading a similar report from the UK. Is this what we want?

  • Comment number 427.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 426.

    Green Future's comments are an eye opener into the murky world of those who back a death penalty. So the officer's family are helped by having someone - ANYONE - convicted and executed for his murder? How does the old adage go? Better that a guilty man go free than imprison an innocent man,

  • rate this

    Comment number 425.

    42 Minutes ago
    They often like to call themselves a Christian nation. What a bunch of barbaric thugs the United States demonstrates itself to be through this act.

    If you believe/think that all UK christians are anti death penalty then you are ignorantly mistaken.

    I abhore all religions, their veneer of decency often belies a deeper hidden darkness

  • rate this

    Comment number 424.

    Guilty until proven Innocent it seems

  • rate this

    Comment number 423.

    Executing a convicted felon leaves no path for redemption, which is a fundamental Christian premise. I would liken the death penalty to a form of extermination not execution. The extermination of undesirables!

  • rate this

    Comment number 422.

    >Not much sympathy in the posts here for the murdered off-duty >police officer and his family

    Almost all of the people giving evidence withdraw it and so the death penalty is not appropriate. There is reasonable doubt.

    Is it not worrying that there is someone else out there who may have been the killer? it's hardly justice for the police officer to kill the wrong person.

  • rate this

    Comment number 421.

    Davis got over 20 years 'extra' life whilst making appeals

    something sadly his victims did not get!

  • rate this

    Comment number 420.

    There is always doubt. Ruth Ellis looks more and more like an abuse victim. Dr Crippen now looks to have been "fitted up" Both famous victims of the death penalty . We attack other ( Particularly Islamic ) countries for barbaric punishments but we cannot do this unless we are squeaky clean. Bring back hanging - how about the birch - chop thieve's hands off. NO, a thousand times NO !

  • rate this

    Comment number 419.

    48 Minutes ago
    "I did not have a gun," he said, "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."

    So, how did he shoot Michael Cooper earlier on at a party, which he was also found guilty.

    Most criminals/murderers dispose of guns/weapons & DNA is not always available.

    Even Gadaffi will deny all

  • rate this

    Comment number 418.

    @151 GreenFuture

    I have every sympathy for the family of the victim in this case but how does the killing of a man who it appears is unlikely to have ben the individual who killed their relative do anything to ease their pain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 417.

    Perhaps prosecutors and judges would be more circumspect in their decisions in asking for and passing the death sentence if they were to be charged with murder if evidence was subsequently uncovered which proved the innocence of the executed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 416.

    @ thedannymess: "while New Hampshire has the lowest murder rate and does."
    You're twisting things a little here, even if they do have the death penalty in New Hampshire, they haven't executed anyone there since 1939. You've only proved that the death penalty has no effect on crime whatsoever if states with or without it can have high & low murder rates irrespective of whether they execute or not.

  • Comment number 415.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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